Russia banned from 2020 Olympics and 2022 World Cup over doping scandal

GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 25: Gold medal winners Olympic Athletes from Russia look on as the Olympic flag is raised during the medal ceremony after the Men's Gold Medal Game against Germany on day sixteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Hockey Centre on February 25, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. Olympic Athletes from Russia defeated Germany 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

(CNN) — The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has unanimously agreed to ban Russia from major international sporting competitions — notably the Olympics and the World Cup — for four years over doping non-compliance.

WADA’s compliance review committee (CRC) had suggested several sanctions because of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s (RUSADA) failure to cooperate fully during probes into Russian sport.

WADA’s executive committee decided to uphold the recommendations at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland on Monday.

RUSADA now has 21 days to accept the decision or send the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Svetlana Zhurova, first deputy chairperson of the international committee of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house, suggested an appeal was very likely and that a decision would be made when RUSADA meets on December 19.

“I am 100% sure [Russia will go to court] because we must defend our athletes,” she told TASS News Agency.

READ: World Anti-Doping Agency accused of being ‘played’ by Russia

Why the ban?

If upheld, WADA’s decision means Russia will be unable to compete in next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo nor the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport,” said WADA President Sir Craig Reedie in a statement.

“The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA’s reinstatement conditions, approved by the ExCo in September 2018, demanded a robust response. That is exactly what has been delivered today.”

WADA’s punishment relates to inconsistencies in data retrieved by WADA in January 2019 from the Moscow lab at the center of the 2016 McLaren report, which uncovered a widespread and sophisticated state-sponsored sports doping network.

RUSADA was initially deemed non-compliant after the publication of the McLaren report in 2016.

Commissioned by WADA, the report found the Russian state conspired with athletes and sporting officials to undertake a doping program that was unprecedented in its scale and ambition.

The findings led to sanctions, including no Russian team being present at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, with certain eligible athletes being forced to compete under a neutral flag.

The latest ban leaves the door open for Russian athletes, who can prove they are not tainted by the scandal, to compete as neutral athletes.

Reedie continued: “Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and rejoin the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial.”

“As a result, the WADA ExCo has responded in the strongest possible terms, while protecting the rights of Russian athletes that can prove that they were not involved and did not benefit from these fraudulent acts.”

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